A Guide to the 5e Warlock’s Eldritch Invocations
Published on January 24, 2022, Last modified on March 30th, 2022
The Warlock’s invocations make them one of the most customizable 5e classes. Optimizing these abilities are paramount to creating a powerfully unique Warlock build.
Daarken - Wizards of the Coast - Dread Warlock
Table of Contents
What are Warlock’s Eldritch Invocations?
At 2nd-level, 5e Warlocks gain access to a feature called Eldritch Invocations. These features provide small benefits that help customize your Warlock build. Invocations usually come in the form of a passive ability, an activated ability that allows you to cast a low-level spell without burning a spell slot, or the ability to learn a non-Warlock spell and cast it with a Warlock spell slot.
These Invocations are essentially “Warlock centric feats”, and play a huge role in building a unique, effective Warlock.
At the 2nd-level, you gain access to two Invocations. You pick up additional Invocations at 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th 15th, and 18th levels.
Warlock’s Eldritch Invocations Ranked
This guide follows our class guide’s color ranking system. The color ranks and what they stand for can be seen below:
- Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
- Orange is an OK option
- Green is a good option
- Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
- Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized
Eldritch Invocations Restrictions
Many invocations are locked behind level or class feature restrictions. If an invocation in the list below appears under a certain level heading (i.e Mire the Mind under the 5th Level heading), they can only be picked up once that Warlock level has been reached.
Restrictions that apply to class features are noted in brackets. For example (Pact of the Tome) means that your Warlock requires the Pact of the Tome feature in order to pick up the invocation.
No Level Restriction
Warlocks gain the Eldritch Invocation class feature at 2nd level, but invocations can be picked up as early as 1st level with the Eldritch Adept feat.
- Agonizing Blast: (eldritch blast) This is one of the best Invocations out there. The damage increase on the Warlock’s favorite cantrip is too good to give up.
- Armor of Shadows: Assuming you have studded leather armor, this is a consistent +1 to your AC.
- Beast Speech: This is not going to help your Warlock. Be a Druid if you want to chat with your animal buddies.
- Beguiling Influence: You already have the option to choose Deception from your class proficiency. Don’t waste an Invocation on getting Persuasion.
- Devil’s Sight: Pairing this Invocation with the darkness spell can give you a massive advantage in combat and stealth. Remember that your party probably can’t see in magical darkness.
- Eldritch Mind: Gaining advantage on concentration checks is huge for all Warlocks as they will likely want to keep up hex at all costs. This also frees up an ASI if you’d like to take another feat instead of War Caster.
- Eldritch Sight: If you want this, pick up Book of Ancient Secrets. Grab detect magic and another ritual while you’re at it.
- Eldritch Spear: (eldritch blast) This could be fun if you want to be a cheesy, long-range spellcaster.
- Eyes of the Rune Keeper: If you want this, pick up Book of Ancient Secrets. Grab comprehend languages and another ritual while you’re at it.
- Fiendish Vigor: This is helpful at lower levels but an average 6hp doesn’t make a huge difference once you get past 5th-level.
- Gaze of Two Minds: Cool flavor, very situational.
- Grasp of Hadar: (eldritch blast) This feature might be useful if you can pull a creature away from a weak companion or into a pit of acid, will only be situationally useful.
- Mask of Many Faces: Solid ability to help with your proficiency in Deception, especially in stealthy or political situations.
- Misty Visions: Minor Illusion is a cantrip Warlocks can pick up that will likely get more mileage than Silent Image.
- Lance of Lethargy: (eldritch blast) Once per turn, you can reduce the speed of a target by 10ft if you hit them with your eldritch blast. This is an extremely useful tool for kiting opponents (hitting them from range, then running away so they can’t attack you).
- Repelling Blast: (eldritch blast) Great effect that you could use to get out of melee range and not have to disengage. There isn’t any save on the push effect so it can be deadly around cliffs.
- Thief of Five Fates: Bane is a solid debuff and not something that Warlocks typically have access to. Because this is cast with a Warlock spell slot, make sure there are enough enemies based on the level of the spell.
- Undying Servitude: This invocation allows you to cast animate dead without a spell slot once per day. While it may look decent at first glance, this is a trap. Seeing as you can only cast the spell without a spell slot, the spell is always cast at the 3rd level. This, combined with the fact that you can only use this invocation once per day allows you to animate 1 humanoid once per day. The secondary feature of animate dead, reasserting your control over up to four creatures instead of animating one, will never be used to its fullest because you can only raise one undead per day. This choice is okay if you want to pickup a skeleton butler for RP purposes, but won’t be effective in the grand scheme of things.
There’s technically no level restriction to these invocations but they are only available once a Warlock gets their Pact Boon at 3rd-level.
- Aspect of the Moon: (Pact of the Tome) Not needing to sleep and not being able to be put to sleep is a very useful feature. Builds with an elven heritage already mitigate sleep mechanics quite well so they may not benefit as much from this ability but just about every other race will find use in this feature.
- Gift of the Ever-Living Ones: (Pact of the Chain) This invocation allows you to automatically regain max hit points when healed and your familiar is within 100ft of you. If you take into account healing spells, healing potions, short rests, etc., being able to gain max hit points from these various healing instances will result in a massive amount of hp over the course of a campaign.
- Book of Ancient Secrets: (Pact of the Tome) Ritual casting is a big deal to help with the Warlock’s meager spell slots. That being said, there aren’t many 1st level Rituals that are particularly good. If you have a Wizard in your party, skip this.
- Improved Pact Weapon: (Pact of the Blade) Automatically make your summoned weapon a +1 magical weapon. Plus, you can now use ranged weapons as your pact weapon. This invocation opens up huge opportunities for Hexblades.
- Investment of the Chain Master: (Pact of the Chain) This is a huge buff to Pact of the Chain builds. The movement aspects aren’t particularly important because the best summons already have flight, but gaining a swimming speed will allow your familiar to scout underwater locations. Being able to use your bonus action to allow your familiar to attack makes them a lot more useful in combat, as does the fact that they now use your spell save DC and their weapons can get around resistances to non-magical weapons. Lastly, you are able to use your reaction to give your familiar resistance against attacks that come their way. These huge benefits open up a world of possibilities and make it so that the Imp isn’t the only familiar that’s worth it. Both the Pseudodragon and the Sprite’s poison attacks and the Quasit’s Scare attack become a lot more effective now that their save DC scales with the Warlock’s spell save.
- Rebuke of the Talisman: (Pact of the Talisman) This invocation is at its best when it is given to the tank of the party as they will hopefully be getting attacked the most. Unfortunately, you have to be within 30ft of the wearer of your talisman and you have to use your reaction to activate the invocation so it can only be used once per turn.
- Voice of the Chain Master: (Pact of the Chain) This can turn your Familiar into an amazing option for a scout, especially if you choose the imp.
- Cloak of Flies: This feature is useful in social and combat which makes it very versatile. Most Warlocks will have maxed their CHA at the first chance they get, so this can give you a huge bonus when it comes to intimidating creatures in social settings and deterring melee attackers in combat.
- Eldritch Smite: (Pact of the Blade) This essentially allows you to make Paladin-esque smites with your pact weapon, with the exception of force damage instead of radiant. This, however, has a couple benefits unavailable to the Paladin. First, the obvious bonus from this invocation is that you can choose to knock the target creature prone as long as they are huge or smaller. No save required. Second, because this weapon is tied to your pact weapon, you can combine this invocation with the Improved Pact Weapon invocation to smite from a distance.
- Far Scribe: (Pact of the Tome) Essentially the fantasy equivalent of email, this feature allows you access to unlimited sending spells with people who want to give you their contact information. This spell can be amazing for situations in which you need to communicate with far-off NPCs. Just make sure not to bug them on weekends when they’re trying to get away from work.
- Gift of the Depths: This invocation gives you plenty of access to underwater exploration, which will be situational based on your campaign setting.
- Maddening Hex: (hex spell or a warlock feature that curses) As a bonus action, this invocation can deal damage equal to your CHA modifier to your cursed target and each creature within 5 feet of it. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it does have some limitations that bring it down a notch. First, you have to have a hexed creature within 30ft that you can see. Second, Warlocks have plenty of uses for their bonus action. If you end up with a Hexblade Warlock, you’ll have your hex spell and your Hexblade’s Curse feature to deal with before Maddening Hex is considered. If you’re a Pact of the Chain Warlock that picks up Investment of the Chain Master, you’ll have your familiar’s attacks to balance with this feature. Either way, this ability is almost always worth a bonus action, you just have to make sure there aren’t too many better uses for your bonus action before you pick this ability up.
- Mire the Mind: Slow is another solid debuff. Unfortunately, it doesn’t scale with your spell slots.
- One with Shadows: This can help you avoid damage and get advantage on attacks but really shines when you are outside of combat. Free, unlimited, concentration-free invisibility as long as you are within dim light or darkness.
- Sign of Ill Omen: Bestow Curse is another solid debuff but the scaling with spell slots isn’t exactly worth it.
- Thirsting Blade: (Pact of the Blade) Skip if you’re not going with a Hexblade build. If you are going Pact of the Blade + Hexblade, it is imperative to allow your melee damage to scale with Eldritch Blast damage.
- Tomb of Levistus: This invocation has a strong effect with equally as strong drawbacks. As a reaction, you can gain 10 temp hp per Warlock level. This is a huge amount of hit points at pretty much any level of play. The drawback is you are frozen in ice until the end of your next turn and your temp hit points disappear when the ice melts. This is an amazing way to save yourself from a life-threatening attack, but makes you drop concentration on all your spells, and forfeits your next turn in return.
- Bewitching Whispers: With compulsion, you can make creatures safely walk in a general direction. Not sure it’s worth it.
- Dreadful Word: Confusion isn’t a great debuff and doesn’t scale well with levels.
- Ghostly Gaze: Being able to see throw solid surfaces is a hugely helpful ability when dungeon diving or infiltrating an enemy fortress. If you don’t have a better scouting tool, like a Pact of the Chain Imp, or a Druid buddy that can turn into a spider, this is a solid pickup.
- Protection of the Talisman: (Pact of the Talisman) Add 1d4 to failed saving throws for the wearer of your talisman. This certainly helps expand the talisman’s usage case but in my opinion, should be included in the base functionality of the talisman.
- Relentless Hex: (hex spell or a warlock feature that curses) This feature will be very useful for melee Hexblade builds but can be skipped by just about any other build.
- Sculptor of Flesh: Polymorph is a great spell, but doesn’t scale with levels. If you have somebody else in your party that knows it I would skip this.
- Trickster’s Escape: Freedom of movement is an awesome spell to use in specific circumstances. Unfortunately, these circumstances are a bit few and far between to spend an invocation slot on Trickster’s Escape.
- Ascendant Step: Levitate is an alright self-buff that can get you out of melee range, it can also be an effective method of locking down enemies without a ranged option. Casting at will without using a spell slot allows you to control the battlefield readily and use it outside of combat often, but the concentration requirement hampers its effectiveness.
- Gift of the Protectors: (Pact of the Tome) Once per day, you can prevent a party member (or yourself) from getting knocked unconscious. This feature provides huge value and can be the difference between allowing your wizard to get a massive AoE spell off or them rolling death-saving throws on their next turn. Seeing as you can only have a number of creatures equal to your prof. modifier in your book, the best option would be to add yourself first, then the party’s healers, then glass cannons, then finally tanks.
- Minions of Chaos: Elementals are good summons that can help soak damage and get the upper hand on action economy. Conjure elementals also scales well with the Warlock’s spell slots which helps this invocation’s effectiveness.
- Leap: Jump is a bad self-buff.
- Whispers of the Grave: Speak with dead is a situational spell. Devoting an entire Invocation to it, even though you can cast it at will, is a bit unnecessary.
- Lifedrinker: (Pact of the Blade) Awesome damage buff for any Pact of the Blade Warlock.
- Bond of the Talisman: (Pact of the Talisman) This allows you to teleport to the creature that is wielding your talisman a number of times equal to your prof. modifier each long rest. The wielder can also use their action to teleport back to you. This can be beneficial in situations where a non-magical party member is infiltrating an enemy base but doesn’t have much value compared to other invocations.
- Chains of Carceri: (Pact of the Chain) At 15th level, you will likely be running into Celestials and Fiends. Being able to cast this at will is wonderful value, the only caveat is you can’t target the same creature twice (without short/long resting in between). This is a must if you are in a campaign that frequents the specified creature types.
- Master of Myriad Forms: Not necessary with Mask of Many Faces available since 2nd-level.
- Shroud of Shadow: Casting invisibility at will without expending a spell slot is pretty insane value for spell-slot starved Warlocks.
- Visions of Distant Realms: Arcane eye is a great scouting option. If you took Pact of the Chain and grabbed the imp, you do not need this as a scouting tool.
- Witch Sight: Seeing through illusions and transmutation is certainly a neat trick but is situational at best. This will be extremely effective in Feywild campaigns.
Sources Used in This Guide
- Unmarked – Player’s Handbook
- EGtW – Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
- SCAG – Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
- TCoE – Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
- XGtE – Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
- MOoT – Mythic Odyessys of Theros
- VRGTR – Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft
- GGtR – Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
- MToF – Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
- VGtM – Volo’s Guide to Monsters
- EEPC – Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
- ERLW – Eberron: Rising from the Last War